What are the main changes?
The Codex Alimentarius or Food Code is an internationally recognised collection of standards adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This organisation was established by the FAO and WHO to protect consumer health and fair trade across the world.
There have been many changes in the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene code of practice compared to previous versions, notably the application of the HACCP system is now within its own chapter rather than an annex. Other changes are summarised below:
- General requirements for a positive food safety culture
- New and updated HACCP terminology
- Greater focus on allergen management
- New requirement for traceability
- Changes to the 12 codex steps of HACCP
- Additional requirements for training and competence
Lot Identification & Traceability
There is a new requirement for lot identification and training to support stock rotation and product recall.
Trained and competent employees are important in preventing unsafe food and drink products reaching the customer/consumer. Codex enhances this fundamental prerequisite programme with additional factors to consider when determining the extents of training required for employees, not just food handlers. The enhanced scope of training covers those “who come who come directly or indirectly into contact with food” and personnel who convey critical information about products (e.g. allergenic ingredients) directly to consumers. There is also an additional requirement to record training provided to employees.
These requirements support legal requirements for food safety training to be commensurate to the work activity and HACCP training those responsible for the development and maintenance of the HACCP system.
Food Allergen Management
A new Codex code of practice on food allergen management for food business operators has been published to support the Codex general principle of food hygiene. This guidance detailed information on preventing allergen cross-contact and providing accurate information about allergenic ingredients in product to consumers.
Food Safety Culture
The most significant change in the guidance is the inclusion of food safety culture within the section for management commitment to food safety and acknowledges “the importance of human behaviour in providing safe and suitable food”. Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 now outlines the general requirement in implementing and maintaining a positive food safety culture. Food safety culture is now within EU Food Safety Legislation.
We offer food safety culture training support food businesses in improving food safety culture.
The HACCP definitions section has been updated with new and revised terminology, such as competent authority, prerequisite programme, allergen cross contact, control, etc.
The definition of a hazard has been simplified and its significance clearly characterised with “unacceptable level” and “for which control is essential”. Changes in wording for corrective action has further clarification in how a non-conforming product is handled following a deviation at a CCP. Validation now focuses on obtaining evidence that control measures are properly implement and capable of managing a specific food safety hazard. Verification omits compliance with the HACCP plan and concentrates on whether a control measure is or has been operating as intended.
HACCP Steps and Principles
The 12 Codex steps in developing, implementing and maintaining the HACCP system have changed with the following changes in bold.
- Assemble HACCP Team and Identify Scope (Step 1)
- Identify intended use and user (Step 3)
- Establish validated critical limits for each CCP (Step 8/ Principle 3)
- Validation of the HACCP Plan and Verification Procedures (Step 11/ Principle 6)
The Codex Decision Tree
A critical control point decision tree is common tool used by the HACCP team to identify CCPs. The new code of practice does still make reference to using this approach, but there is no example within the guidance. Although, there is clear guidance in how to determine whether a control measure at specific is a CCP. Campden BRI do offer an alternative that is widely used by food manufacturers and new decision may emerge in the future as an annex.
We discuss changes to Codex guidance on all food safety/hygiene and HACCP courses. Contact us now to find out how can support your business with training that makes a difference in the way your team thinks and behaves.